4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

J C, modified 3 Years ago.

4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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About two years ago, on retreat, I attained 4th path. Since then, there's been no sense of agency, free will, control, or "me." I've also found it impossible to compare myself to anyone else since then.

The exercise that triggered 4th path for me was to zoom in very very closely on the moment where it felt like I was doing something, and simultaneously notice effort and surrender. I had the image of closing a zipper where you have to pull the two sides of the material together as you tug the zipper, and the two sides were effort and surrender.

When I did that, I "popped" and it felt like something unhooked or untangled.

After 4th path, the biggest thing I noticed was the presence of the narrator - verbalizations going on in my head, pulling me away from being present. Something about the narrator felt "wrong" or off-kilter in much the same way that the feeling of the self/free will did before 4th path.

But at times the narrator will disappear and I'll enter a state of wide, spacious awareness. I don't know whether this is  rigpa, a PCE, the Wisdom Eye opening, or what. But it seems like there's another level there, another kind of enlightenment, involving the narrator and non-duality.

When I think back to before 4th path, it feels like I was somehow trapped in a tiny space. It feels horrible to think about. It feels like I was stuck inside a mathematical point rather than being free in an open block of space.

There's a similar feeling when I get lost in thought, lost in the narrator. I lose touch with my senses, with awareness, with mindfulness. There's "missing" time - I'll notice all of a sudden that my mind wanders. And it's always connected to narration. Always connected to me talking to myself in my head. A stream of words.

I'm interested in looking closely at the moment I lose awareness. The moment when the narrator takes over. The moment when duality hits. It's connected to mental representation or recognition in some way - the difference between experiencing a sensation directly and having a word or mental image of the sensation. Somehow something is lost when I recognize something.

For instance, I'm looking at a red box of paper clips. If I just look at it and stay mindful, stay in awareness, there are no words in my head. But if I recognize it as a "box" - in that moment of recognition I get torn away. Right now, I'm trying to look very closely at that process of being torn away, trying to slow it down, and it feels like a tugging, a creation of duality, like awareness is being split into two pieces, the experiencer and the experienced. And all this is after 4th path - none of this is "me." It's just awareness being torn from experience, a moment of lost time, and then the realization that the narrator is present when I come back to awareness.

Anyone know what I'm talking about? Have any thoughts on this? Is there another level of enlightenment there, and how do I get to it?

Is this related to firstfold/secondfold emptiness at all?

Is this related to concentration at all? I notice that when my concentration is high, like after a sit, I get lost in the narrator less and am able to "catch" it sooner. And when I'm low on sleep or sick or smoke weed, it's the opposite - I stay trapped in the narrator longer. But there's more to this than just having high concentration, which is temporary.

I have a feeling that there are two types of enlightenment: 4th path, and nonduality. 4th path centers around the idea of the self, control, and agency, and nonduality is about the narrator. And I have a feeling that there's another permanent shift to be made, and I need to focus closely on the moment of duality to get there, the same way I focused closely on the moment of agency to get to 4th path.
neko, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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This is a question I have been meaning to ask for some time now, so I am glad you brought it up.

If I understand correctly, in MCTB Daniel seems to be a bit dismissive of the phenomenon of reduction in inner monologue as a milestone in progress or as useful in anyway, I think I recall some passages in which he seems to imply that it might be a bit of a red herring. Well, at least that is the impression that I came away with reading MCTB.

However, other practitioners, Gary Weber comes to mind, place a huge importance on "stillness". Being a bit of an MCTB-ist in my theoretical understanding of the path, I was quite a bit surprised when my self-talk started to get quieter, fainter, more distant and less sticky, and I still am not 100% sure what to make of it.

I hope this discussion takes off emoticon 
J C, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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neko:
If I understand correctly, in MCTB Daniel seems to be a bit dismissive of the phenomenon of reduction in inner monologue as a milestone in progress or as useful in anyway, I think I recall some passages in which he seems to imply that it might be a bit of a red herring. Well, at least that is the impression that I came away with reading MCTB.

Being a bit of an MCTB-ist in my theoretical understanding of the path, I was quite a bit surprised when my self-talk started to get quieter, fainter, more distant and less sticky, and I still am not 100% sure what to make of it.
Yeah, I got that impression as well from MCTB, and I'm having the same confusion with how this fits in with my theoretical understanding of the path. That's why I think it may be a completely different path, one that Daniel maybe completed before getting 4th without realizing it.

On the other hand, MCTB does discuss the opening of the Wisdom Eye post 4th path - how do you think this fits in?

Also, I'm not sure it's "reduction in inner monologue" I'm talking about, as much as it is awareness of the starting and stopping of inner monologue. I think the inner monologue is a useful tool, it's just a question of the split, or missing time, or lack of awareness, that comes along with the gesture of recognition or with the narration starting.

Neko, at what point did your inner monologue become quieter, and what got you there?
neko, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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J C:

Also, I'm not sure it's "reduction in inner monologue" I'm talking about, as much as it is awareness of the starting and stopping of inner monologue. I think the inner monologue is a useful tool, it's just a question of the split, or missing time, or lack of awareness, that comes along with the gesture of recognition or with the narration starting.
There are several different dimensions to it. Greater awareness of how/when/where it arises and how/when/where it fades away. Familiarity with the pauses in between brings a greater ability to tune into the silence which in turn means that the silence can come about spontaneously when the conditions are right. The conditions that are right become more and more, until progressively the silent state starts to feel a bit more normal and the chatty state a bit more the exception.

Well, this is how it is for me. Interestingly, this is completely different from Gary Weber, who, if I understand correctly, experienced no decrease at all in inner monologue until in vanished in the middle of an asana and never came back. I seem to be more gradual.


J C:

Neko, at what point did your inner monologue become quieter, and what got you there?
Not 100% sure what got me there, because I have been practicing different things, but I would say that it is probably mostly due to Reggie Ray's CDs Mahamudra for the Modern World.

At what point that happened path-wise? I got one path around 1995 spontaneously by exploring the falling-asleep process. It was definitely a cessation through the dukkha door, but I had no idea at the time (I knew absolutely nothing about meditation). I read MCTB in I think 2014 and I got another path a few months after reading it. No path events since, but a lot of gradual progress. I am still pre-MCTB 4th path, there is still a bit of duality left. Not sure if that means that I am still second path... or maybe first path, if the first event does not count... or whether it is possible to experience path-like progress without path events.

So I would say that I am somewhere between 1st and 3rd path. Very sloppy answer, I know... I used to care about this, but I am not too interested in the answer these days anymore to be honest.
J C, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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neko:
There are several different dimensions to it. Greater awareness of how/when/where it arises and how/when/where it fades away. Familiarity with the pauses in between brings a greater ability to tune into the silence which in turn means that the silence can come about spontaneously when the conditions are right.

Not 100% sure what got me there, because I have been practicing different things, but I would say that it is probably mostly due to Reggie Ray's CDs Mahamudra for the Modern World.

Can you relate at all to the binary "switch" thing where all of a sudden you realize you were off narrating and lost awareness? Did it feel like you were "stuck" in the narration at all?

I'll have to give Reggie Ray another try - I got a few CDs in and there was all this weird stuff about posture and spinal columns and stuff that didn't make much sense. Did you go straight through? Were there any parts you skipped or parts you found especially helpful? How did you practice with it?
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Noah D, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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For that audio series, just skip to the Transmission stuff which is about 3/4's in. He has some interesting pointers like turning around to stare backward into the vast expanse & then throw yourself into it.  He also has his typical somatic descent stuff. 

All the Mahamudra pointers are either highlighting tsal (object), ghzi (ground) or rigpa (knowing).  Once you hear a few you can back translate them into a system of techniques and symbols that work for you.
neko, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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J C:
neko:
There are several different dimensions to it. Greater awareness of how/when/where it arises and how/when/where it fades away. Familiarity with the pauses in between brings a greater ability to tune into the silence which in turn means that the silence can come about spontaneously when the conditions are right.

Not 100% sure what got me there, because I have been practicing different things, but I would say that it is probably mostly due to Reggie Ray's CDs Mahamudra for the Modern World.

Can you relate at all to the binary "switch" thing where all of a sudden you realize you were off narrating and lost awareness?


Oh, yes. It bugs me, which, if I understand correctly, is something I should be investigating.


J C:
Did it feel like you were "stuck" in the narration at all?


Yes, but the feeling of "stuckness" has got weaker. It is easier to snap out of it, the switch feels less of a switch and more of a glide, and it is not so painful to go back and forth between the two.


J C:
I'll have to give Reggie Ray another try - I got a few CDs in and there was all this weird stuff about posture and spinal columns and stuff that didn't make much sense. Did you go straight through? Were there any parts you skipped or parts you found especially helpful? How did you practice with it?
Yeah, I jokingly call the first few CDs "meditating with your butthole" (in a very literal sense, and meaning no offense, I just like to be silly occasionally). All of the practices are good, but several did not work for me at all, particularly during the first run through the CDs. Others did. I think the main point of the shamatha part is the hope that at least one or two of the techniques will give you a glimpse of the Natural State or watchamacallit. It is not about necessarily getting all of the techniques to work, or even about mastering a few of them. As long as it looks like something works, and you feel that you are getting the hang of what Reggie is hinting at, do feel free to push through IMHO. But do be honest with yourself.

I did not skip anything. I went twice through the CDs.

During the CDs, I played free-form with several of the practices. For example, particularly during the second run, I was alternating super-fast Mahasi noting with settling into the Natural State to experience the direct pointing from two different points of view. I am not sure if that would be considered cheating or something, but it seemed to work for me. It felt like there was something worthwhile to it. I might be able to dig an email I wrote back then on what was happening.

I read several books on Mahamudra, and used them as additional sources of (in)direct pointing. Of course you have to read between the lines a lot, since it is supposed to be an oral tradition and much is omitted in the texts, but there is a lot in there too, so if you have a solid practice and you are reasonably creative about it, it can be very beneficial, in my experience.

I used it a lot in non-formal settings, for example while taking walks outside or commuting.

It kind of integrated naturally with my previous practice, and what I did after it / am doing now.

_____

EDIT(s): are a bad habit
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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J C:
About two years ago, on retreat, I attained 4th path. Since then, there's been no sense of agency, free will, control, or "me." I've also found it impossible to compare myself to anyone else since then.

...

I have a feeling that there are two types of enlightenment: 4th path, and nonduality. 4th path centers around the idea of the self, control, and agency, and nonduality is about the narrator. And I have a feeling that there's another permanent shift to be made, and I need to focus closely on the moment of duality to get there, the same way I focused closely on the moment of agency to get to 4th path.

I'm going to be a little on the brutal zen-harsh side of things with this reply. Don't turn it into something that beats you up for too long, but this should undermine your sense of having 4th path and be a helpful pointer for you...


"You are still comparing yourself to others: you are comparing yourself to yourself. What experiences the "wrong narrator"? What experiences "non-duality"? Are you the narrator, the non-duality, or the mind that compares the two? What is aware of comparing the narrator with non-duality? Is the thing that compares those two things a third thing? What is awareness and what is aware? What is mind? What is the self?"
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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What experiences the "wrong narrator"? What experiences "non-duality"? Are you the narrator, the non-duality, or the mind that compares the two? What is aware of comparing the narrator with non-duality? Is the thing that compares those two things a third thing? What is awareness and what is aware? What is mind? What is the self?

I very much support the use of these questions as a way to get on the road to finding the root of the matter. If you've had the technical 4th path realization these questions will have pretty obvious answers for you, as that realization is very much about the dualities they point to. At least it was for me.
J C, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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Chris Marti:
What experiences the "wrong narrator"? What experiences "non-duality"? Are you the narrator, the non-duality, or the mind that compares the two? What is aware of comparing the narrator with non-duality? Is the thing that compares those two things a third thing? What is awareness and what is aware? What is mind? What is the self?

I very much support the use of these questions as a way to get on the road to finding the root of the matter. If you've had the technical 4th path realization these questions will have pretty obvious answers for you, as that realization is very much about the dualities they point to. At least it was for me.

Chris, can you elaborate on your experience here? Are you saying that for you the technical 4th path realization related to dualities involving the narrator?

For me the 4th path realization (assuming that's what it was) pointed to dualities involving agency and control - me "doing" something, being an agent, taking an action, vs. stuff happening. How does this relate to the dualities you're discussing?
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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Chris, can you elaborate on your experience here? Are you saying that for you the technical 4th path realization related to dualities involving the narrator?

I'll try to be brief --

At my 4th path realization it became instantly obvious that there is just one "thing" - I'll call it reality for want of a better word right now. There was no distinction at all between what I had always thought of as "me" and anything else, what I had always assumed was "other." That all fell away, the nature of how this "thing" was constructed by mind, and I was left giggling to myself over how silly it was of me to ever assume there was any distinction. So yes, I was left with no more assumed and unobserved dualities involving anything at all. The final straw was to realize that this "me" that had previously been assumed to have some sort of privileged status, to be the center of the observed universe, was actually nothing but an assumption. When that assumption was revealed, poof!

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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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For me the 4th path realization (assuming that's what it was) pointed to dualities involving agency and control - me "doing" something, being an agent, taking an action, vs. stuff happening. How does this relate to the dualities you're discussing?

If there's really no "you" (other than the mirage you often mistakenly take for a "you") then there is no narrator separate from the narrated to. No actor separate from the acted upon. No controller separate from the controlled. Maybe you have one last realization - not just that there is no agency but that there is no agent that is separate from anything else. No agent, no agency.

J C, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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shargrol:

I'm going to be a little on the brutal zen-harsh side of things with this reply. Don't turn it into something that beats you up for too long, but this should undermine your sense of having 4th path and be a helpful pointer for you...


"You are still comparing yourself to others: you are comparing yourself to yourself. What experiences the "wrong narrator"? What experiences "non-duality"? Are you the narrator, the non-duality, or the mind that compares the two? What is aware of comparing the narrator with non-duality? Is the thing that compares those two things a third thing? What is awareness and what is aware? What is mind? What is the self?"
These are some good questions, thank you. This is a very helpful response and not harsh at all.

If I understand correctly (and please correct me if I don't), you're suggesting that the narrator involves some hidden "selfing" and so whatever reduction in selfing I've achieved isn't complete or 4th path yet.

Did you experience some similar pre-4th path stage where you thought you were 4th path but still dealing with some questions of the narrator? Did that change at some point? I'd be interested in hearing about your own experiences and where you think I am now and what's coming next.

My initial answer to your questions is that experience is occuring without an experiencer, so there is no comparison of self, only comparison of experiences, and there is no entity experiencing either of the non-dual or narrator states.

From a theoretical perspective, there need not be anything doing the comparison - comparison occurs in the mind just like any other thought or sensation.

So why is there anything more going on here than the mind thinking about or comparing, say, (memories of) two different meals?

But when I get "lost" in the narrator, I do think there may be some kind of selfing there, though not the kind I was working on before. It's difficult for me to tell because I somehow lose awareness for a moment there.

And then when you ask the key question, "What is aware of comparing the narrator with non-duality?" - I get a flash of - something. Just thinking that question takes me to a quiet non-dual state. This seems like the right direction to go here.

Asking that question has the effect of constructing a larger space containing both of the previous spaces/states, or as Pawel suggested, trying to combine the two. That's the kind of thing that was helpful before.

Where do I go next?
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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This is a good discussion. When I was in the stage where I assume you are now, JC, I spent a lot of time pondering what these 4th path accessors knew that I didn't know. After all, I could easily "feel" the non-duality of experience, I coud talk to them about this stuff on the same level, and so on.

So WTF??? 
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Nikolai ., modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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This phrase got me looking at things differently from what I was doing previously to flip it. Sounds like some aspect/formation of mind is being given weight or being made "sacred" in your descriptions of "the narrator". 

"THE NOT SACRED NATURE OF EVERY PHENOMENON"

Courtesy of Chris back in the day. 

J C, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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Nikolai .:
This phrase got me looking at things differently from what I was doing previously to flip it. Sounds like some aspect/formation of mind is being given weight or being made "sacred" in your descriptions of "the narrator". 

"THE NOT SACRED NATURE OF EVERY PHENOMENON"

Courtesy of Chris back in the day. 


Nikolai, it's not that anything is sacred now, I just get lost in thought with the narrator in a way I don't with other (external) sensory experience. As you put it in that link in your other post, the plane of seeing was about losing the center point and realizing that it's all just experience arising, and the plane of volition is about attending to the mind's creation of name and form, mental proliferation. So I guess now it's just the (concentration-like) practice of noticing the narrator when it occurs. How far have you gotten in this process? How has it gone for you?

I don't understand why the narrator is so sticky and I get lost in it so easily. Do you have any idea?

What's going on theoretically with the plane of volition? How does this process end and what's at the end? Are there intermediate steps?

(side note - those names seem backwards to me, because getting to 4th path was all about seeing through volition!)
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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Nice book: Clarifying the Natural State, by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal: seriously well-written stuff.

Layers and layers and layers to the thing, so, if you feel there is yet another level not well-integrated, for which you don't automatically see as clearly as you wish to see, then learn the same things again for that layer, bringing up that layer consciously, clearly, doing what you feel the mind shouldn't do, but consciously, to awaken the things that don't seem to quite be awake, that seem off or wrong or whatever.

They are still it, can't be otherwise, but there are ways to perceive them that clearly seem more awake than others.

Labels like "4th path" can be slippery, sticky, and sometimes are unhelpful if they divide anything, split off anything, exclude anything, or create any sense of dichotomy, solidity, past, future, or stable present, or identity of even the most subtle variety.

When all immediacy, regardless of anything the mind is or isn't doing, regardless of focus, regardless of what qualities of experience or mental state are present, regardless of what thought is doing or how it is perceived, regardless of stage or state or rank or level: when all of that naturally, immediately and automatically feels exactly like the thing itself all the way through and can't possibly feel otherwise, that is a prize worth the effort, regardless of what you call it. The Mahamudra kids call this "simultaneous mind", where pristine revealing wisdom and ordinary phenomena become the same thing or, you could say, recognize they always were.
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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Daniel M. Ingram:
Nice book: Clarifying the Natural State, by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal: seriously well-written stuff.


Daniel, I wanted to ask you about this book at some point. I'm curious how you align one-pointedness, simplicity, one taste, and non-meditation with the 4 path model. I'm inclined to put one-pointedness, simplicity, and one taste as all late 3rd (and so subtle traps), non-mediation as 4th, and the lesser, medium, and greater non-meditation as the "snow melting after the sun rises" refinement that occurs post 4th. Curious what you think? 
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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I'm curious about why everything has to have path correlate. Does it? I'm not inclined to think so, but curious about what others think.
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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Chris Marti:
I'm curious about why everything has to have path correlate. Does it? I'm not inclined to think so, but curious about what others think.

I definitely get why you would ask the question and I agree, there is no inherent need for things to correlate. But I found "Clarifying..." actually very helpful for teasing out how subtle insights are clinged to in late 3rd, which is why I tend to see a practical value in looking at it with that lense.

But whether it really correlates -- I don't know. I'm curious what others think, too! emoticon
neko, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality!

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shargrol:

Daniel, I wanted to ask you about this book at some point. I'm curious how you align one-pointedness, simplicity, one taste, and non-meditation with the 4 path model. I'm inclined to put one-pointedness, simplicity, and one taste as all late 3rd (and so subtle traps), non-mediation as 4th, and the lesser, medium, and greater non-meditation as the "snow melting after the sun rises" refinement that occurs post 4th. Curious what you think? 
(Is there a typo here? How can non-meditation be 4th path, but lesser, medium, and greater non-meditation be post 4th path?)
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality!

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neko:
shargrol:

Daniel, I wanted to ask you about this book at some point. I'm curious how you align one-pointedness, simplicity, one taste, and non-meditation with the 4 path model. I'm inclined to put one-pointedness, simplicity, and one taste as all late 3rd (and so subtle traps), non-mediation as 4th, and the lesser, medium, and greater non-meditation as the "snow melting after the sun rises" refinement that occurs post 4th. Curious what you think? 
(Is there a typo here? How can non-meditation be 4th path, but lesser, medium, and greater non-meditation be post 4th path?)
Read the book! emoticon

But basically, there are ways to fall into momentary confusion post 4th path, which are INSTANTLY seen as a fuck up. That sort of thing happens for long while, truth be told. It's humbling. 

Saying this is very illusion shattering for perfectionists, but as Dogen said, the life of a zen master is one continuous mistake.
neko, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality!

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shargrol:
Read the book! emoticon

I did. Twice. And the Moonlight of Mahamudra (by the same author), Pointing Out the Great Way by Daniel Brown, and a couple more Mahamudra texts. So I have a decent theoretical, academic understanding of the topic, although my practice is far behind my theory emoticon

Really, I don't understand how you are using the numbering here. When you say "4th path" do you mean the practice between attaining 3rd path and attaining 4th path, or the practice after 4th path? When you say "non-meditation as 4th", do you mean that the practice of the 4th yoga of Mahamudra maps into the practice that leads one to 4th path? Or that you practice non-meditation after attaining 4th path?
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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 "non-meditation as 4th"

means late 3rd path ends and 4th path occurs, when non-meditation becomes possible (as non-meditation is described in Clarifying...)



"practicing non-meditation after attaining 4th path"

I never said "practicing non-meditation". Snow doesn't have to practice in order to melt. emoticon

neko, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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shargrol:
 "non-meditation as 4th"

means late 3rd path ends and 4th path occurs, when non-meditation becomes possible (as non-meditation is described in Clarifying...)
Ok, thanks emoticon

My impression is that the first two yogas of Mahamudra do not map directly to any Theravadin paths. This from my own practice, I think we agree on this.

From my mostly theoretical understanding (for what it's worth), I am a bit surprised by your mapping, because I was under the impression that completion of the 4th yoga of Mahamudra might be Theravadin 4th path. (In fact, post-enlightenment instructions are provided after the 4th yoga of Mahamudra.)

Personally, I was tempted to draw analogies between completion of 3rd path and completion of One Taste, what with all the descriptions of the realisation of the nonduality of appearance/emptiness, thought/perceptions mind/perceptions as being complete, but there being residuals of the subject/object nonduality (to be fixed during the 4th yoga). And then there's the "savouring" of some of the aspects of the nondualities realised so far, which seem to map nicely on Daniel's description of a 3rd pather's fascination with luminosity and so on. 

I am curious to know why you think I am wrong on this, but, if I understand correctly, the point is that you still consider some residuals of duality to remain after MCTB 4th path. right?

shargrol:

"practicing non-meditation after attaining 4th path"

I never said "practicing non-meditation". Snow doesn't have to practice in order to melt. emoticon


Tomayto tomahto emoticon

The 4th yoga of Mahamudra provides noninstructions for the nonpractice of nonmeditation. Better? emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality!

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I have a hard time imagining how anyone can fall out of 4th path, fall back to 3rd path, or lose the insight that represents the transition from 3rd to 4th path. It has always been a lasting transition for me, and one that can't seemingly be reversed. Maybe someone else can report their experience and maybe it's different than mine.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality!

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Hibiscus Kid:
Hey Shargrol (or anyone else),

Could you elaborate or give an example of "falling into confusion" post 4th? Does this mean that a person would regress back to late 3rd similar to how Daniel was fluctuating on his retreat with Sayadaw U Pandita Jr.? Or what do these "fuck ups" entail?



Could you say more about "falling into confusion"? Not sure what you are referencing. I agree with Chris that path insights don't go away, so regressing from 4th to 3rd doesn't make sense in the way I use/view the maps.

Tangentially related, but mentioned elsewhere in this thread: does 'non-meditation' mean that some habitual and reactive patterns start to untangle since they are seen with clarity? Or does it refer to the fact that everything is autoliberating?

Very tricky talk about...When talking about pre-4th practice, autoliberating is a good way to say it. Auto-untangling. Post-4th, non-meditation can mean lots of things, but I literally mean non-meditation most of the time I use the phrase non-meditation. No practice.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality!

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shargrol:
Hibiscus Kid:
Hey Shargrol (or anyone else),

Could you elaborate or give an example of "falling into confusion" post 4th? Does this mean that a person would regress back to late 3rd similar to how Daniel was fluctuating on his retreat with Sayadaw U Pandita Jr.? Or what do these "fuck ups" entail?



Could you say more about "falling into confusion"? Not sure what you are referencing. 

Ah, now I see that you were quoting me! emoticon And with the quote box above, I'm quoting me quoting you quoting me. emoticon

"Falling into confusion" is a way to say that there is refinement that occurs after 4th path, but I'm not saying it involves falling into a kind of pre-awakening confusion. The insight of awakening doesn't go away. You could say it's more like semi-lucid dreaming, not quite entrapped in dream but not quite clear either, and when you wake up there is nothing to do about it because you know it was a dream. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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Thanks for waking up this very interesting thread!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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Good intuition there. emoticon
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Noah D, modified 1 Year ago.

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[quote=
]Hibiscus:
Could you elaborate or give an example of "falling into confusion" post 4th? Does this mean that a person would regress back to late 3rd similar to how Daniel was fluctuating on his retreat with Sayadaw U Pandita Jr.? Or what do these "fuck ups" entail?

There's no regression on what has already been seen, but there's things that have not been seen.  There are satellite processes that are not attached to or dependent on the core meat of the self illusion which drops away at 4th path.  As far as I understand, the purpose of dzogchen trekcho is to deal with these.

Hibiscus:
Tangentially related, but mentioned elsewhere in this thread: does 'non-meditation' mean that some habitual and reactive patterns start to untangle since they are seen with clarity? Or does it refer to the fact that everything is autoliberating?

As far as I know, nonmeditation is the 4th & final part of the mahamudra sequence, which is essentially designed to lead up to 4th path.    Mahamudra as a system of techniques is not that useful for post 4th path practice.  There may be many other uses for the phrase 'non meditation' that I am not aware of.
J C, modified 1 Year ago.

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So when I started this thread in 2017, I believed I was 4th path. I now realize I was not 4th path at all. In fact, I wasn't even 3rd path. I now believe I attained 3rd path fall 2018.

The way I see things now, 4th path is the end of the line. At 3rd, I've been going through cycles of wondering if I was done, looking closely for suffering, finding it, "popping" it, and repeating.

I suspect that the remaining suffering will gradually become rarer and rarer, and stay for briefer and briefer time periods, as it gradually approaches the end of suffering.

So "falling in confusion" might mean a moment of duality that is seen right away - where you pop it as soon as you realize it instead of being lost in it.

Noah D:
[quote=
]Hibiscus:
Could you elaborate or give an example of "falling into confusion" post 4th? Does this mean that a person would regress back to late 3rd similar to how Daniel was fluctuating on his retreat with Sayadaw U Pandita Jr.? Or what do these "fuck ups" entail?

There's no regression on what has already been seen, but there's things that have not been seen.  There are satellite processes that are not attached to or dependent on the core meat of the self illusion which drops away at 4th path.  As far as I understand, the purpose of dzogchen trekcho is to deal with these.

Hibiscus:
Tangentially related, but mentioned elsewhere in this thread: does 'non-meditation' mean that some habitual and reactive patterns start to untangle since they are seen with clarity? Or does it refer to the fact that everything is autoliberating?

As far as I know, nonmeditation is the 4th & final part of the mahamudra sequence, which is essentially designed to lead up to 4th path.    Mahamudra as a system of techniques is not that useful for post 4th path practice.  There may be many other uses for the phrase 'non meditation' that I am not aware of.


So you take the view that Mahamudra lines up with 4th and Dzogchen "cutting through" lines up with post-4th path? Why do you think this?

The question of how all the different maps line up is a really interesting and complicated one, with no good consensus. Dan Brown, in his book cowritten with Ken Wilbur, has a chapter comparing the four stages of Mahamudra with *one cycle* of the progress of insight - I think they all ended up lining up with Equaminity nana if I recall correctly.

He, bizarrely, leaves the other paths for a footnote, thus missing the entire point. But I think he's right that the 4 Mahamudra stages correlate roughly with Equanimity.

My own view is that 4th path is the end of the line. As Daniel put it, "how can there be anything other than this moment?"

So there aren't any satellite processes to see through post-4th.

I suspect a lot of people made the mistake I did when I started this thread, thinking they were 4th path but seeing that there's still progress to be made, but had a hard time giving up the identity (!) of being 4th path, ironically.

This is where the myths of post-4th progress come from. If you don't want to admit you're not really 4th, you have to classify any further progress as post-4th.

Another, related, issue is Tibetans doing their usual mischaracterizations of the other traditions, claiming their emptiness is so much emptier than ours. So rather than recognizing that all the traditions have the same endpoint, they want to make theirs have a bigger and better endpoint.
J C, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality!

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Hibiscus Kid:
Hey Shargrol (or anyone else),

Could you elaborate or give an example of "falling into confusion" post 4th? Does this mean that a person would regress back to late 3rd similar to how Daniel was fluctuating on his retreat with Sayadaw U Pandita Jr.? Or what do these "fuck ups" entail?

Tangentially related, but mentioned elsewhere in this thread: does 'non-meditation' mean that some habitual and reactive patterns start to untangle since they are seen with clarity? Or does it refer to the fact that everything is autoliberating?

I have heard it said that we can only awaken to that which we bring our attention (and by staying out in the world, we can see which of our buttons get pushed that ordinarily would not if we were in solitude). However, as a practitioner who isn't on that level, it feels like I am bumping up against the same reacitive patterns again and again and again (doesn't feel like anything is 'awakening' or getting untangled). Maybe there is some processing going on subconciously every time my mind encounters these contractions, but it sounds like an automatic process (non-meditation) post fourth (and it seems to untangle any hiccups much more quickly).

This entire thread is really awesome.

At a certain point (shortly after getting to 3rd), the process of looking right at the suffering started becoming more and more automatic.

It untangles itself when you look right at the moment of resistance to reality, that is, right at the "splitting off" into duality.

You have to do this 180 degree turn from looking at the object of the suffering to looking at the suffering itself, that is, look at who or what is suffering. As you do it more and more it becomes more and more effortless.

This is my (3rd path) practice now - the progress cycles don't matter. Just look at the suffering. Look at the resistance. Look at the dissatisfaction. Look at the seeking, the split, the sense of agency, the sense of free will. Look at the wondering, questioning, and worrying about what to do next. Look at the feeling that you need to do something, change something, that what is there isn't good enough.

As I look at it more and more, as I train myself to bring my attention to the suffering itself, suffering reduces more and more. The knot gets more and more untangled. The split gets more and more healed.
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Nick O, modified 1 Year ago.

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J C:


This is my (3rd path) practice now - the progress cycles don't matter. Just look at the suffering. Look at the resistance. Look at the dissatisfaction. Look at the seeking, the split, the sense of agency, the sense of free will. Look at the wondering, questioning, and worrying about what to do next. Look at the feeling that you need to do something, change something, that what is there isn't good enough.

As I look at it more and more, as I train myself to bring my attention to the suffering itself, suffering reduces more and more. The knot gets more and more untangled. The split gets more and more healed.
Do you feel that when you power up mindfulness you cannot locate sense of agency yet get tricked again and again into it being there? 
J C, modified 1 Year ago.

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Yes, exactly. As soon as I remember to look it becomes clear that it's not there. That was true after 1st path I think, for the most part, but the automatic "catching" just started recently after 3rd.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

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I’m glad to see you here, J C. I have been missing your posts (oops, there’s the clinging... I didn’t suffer that much, though. Just enough to be glad now.)
J C, modified 3 Years ago.

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Chris,

At my 4th path realization it became instantly obvious that there is just one "thing" - I'll call it reality for want of a better word right now. There was no distinction at all between what I had always thought of as "me" and anything else, what I had always assumed was "other." That all fell away, the nature of how this "thing" was constructed by mind, and I was left giggling to myself over how silly it was of me to ever assume there was any distinction. So yes, I was left with no more assumed and unobserved dualities involving anything at all. The final straw was to realize that this "me" that had previously been assumed to have some sort of privileged status, to be the center of the observed universe, was actually nothing but an assumption. When that assumption was revealed, poof!

If there's really no "you" (other than the mirage you often mistakenly take for a "you") then there is no narrator separate from the narrated to. No actor separate from the acted upon. No controller separate from the controlled. Maybe you have one last realization - not just that there is no agency but that there is no agent that is separate from anything else. No agent, no agency.


I would describe my 4th path experience in much the same terms - no me, no privileged status, no agent.

But this doesn't address the narrator issue. Yes, there is no narrator separate from the narrated to. I realize that. The issue is that my experience gets "taken over" by the experience of narration. I pull out of the sensory world and into my own head. Now, you could just say "that's what minds do sometimes, they narrate, it's all just experience manifesting itself."

But as I said, there's something that happens, something that takes me away from awareness. Something that has to do with the mind recognizing and representing experience. The duality here doesn't feel like it's about "me" vs "not me" because it's clear that there is no me - it's more the narrator being separate from experience. Inner vs. outer worlds.


This is a good discussion. When I was in the stage where I assume you are now, JC, I spent a lot of time pondering what these 4th path accessors knew that I didn't know. After all, I could easily "feel" the non-duality of experience, I coud talk to them about this stuff on the same level, and so on.


Where is that, 3rd path? Can you elaborate a little on this - what was the difference for you once you got to 4th, and what makes you think I'm where you think I am? How did you get over the edge to the next path?

Thanks again - I appreciate all your help here.
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

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Where is that, 3rd path? Can you elaborate a little on this - what was the difference for you once you got to 4th, and what makes you think I'm where you think I am? How did you get over the edge to the next path?

Yes, very late 3rd path.

The difference between that and what happened next was what Nikolai is getting at - realizing deeply (not intellectually) the very horizontal, non-hierarchical nature of everything. There is nothing sacred, nothing better or above or more privileged than anything else. It's all the same, no matter what it is.

JC, I really have no idea where you are but your conundrum reminded me of that period in my practice.

I can't tell you what got me over the edge because I'm not really sure. It just happened. All I can say is that it happened after about two weeks of pondering what it was that I could not yet grok. Then after that things got really calm, and one day it just clicked.

You can read about this period in my online journal, kept contemporaneously:  
http://awakenetwork.org/magazine/cmarti/101#more-101 

Look for the late April, early May of 2010 time frame.
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

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The issue is that my experience gets "taken over" by the experience of narration. I pull out of the sensory world and into my own head. Now, you could just say "that's what minds do sometimes, they narrate, it's all just experience manifesting itself."

To paraphrase shargrol -- What is taking over what?

To paraphrase Nikolai -- it seems there is an unstated assumption of prominence for this "narrator" thing you keep bringing up.

To ask one more question -- what's the difference between the "sensory world" and your own head? Is there any?
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

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Lots of good stuff in this thread, I hope it's useful JC.

As you can see, lots of advice but no "rule" for finding the missing insight. It is very personal.

A teacher will keep pushing your premises and wants and desires back on you, making you confront all of your beliefs in what separates spirituality from the normal world and/or what separates the self from experience.

Many people in third path create "golden chains" as Daniel said in MCTB. They will -- consciously or unconsciously -- reify one aspect of experience and put it above all the others. Can be stillness, clarity, certainty, ease, non-thought, bliss, awareness, sensations of knowing, even versions of non-duality... and it's really very personal how long we'll cling to it until we let go.

Sometimes, it has a sense of being a psychological block. Basically, you will often find there is some core need that keeps you seeking. For one of my friends, it was needing a sense of being safe. For another friend, it was needing a sense of being loved. For me, it was a sense of being powerful and not weak, so to speak, just to give you a feeling for it.

There is a basic thing that we ignore about >why< we are interested in spirituality. Some core sense of a self that needs something. That's the basic self, the basic ignorance.

When that is seen, the small sense of self is seen. It really can never be unseen --- which is why 4th path is such a completion and is so unshakable. 

Hope this helps!
Don, modified 3 Years ago.

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shargrol:


Many people in third path create "golden chains" as Daniel said in MCTB. They will -- consciously or unconsciously -- reify one aspect of experience and put it above all the others. Can be stillness, clarity, certainty, ease, non-thought, bliss, awareness, sensations of knowing, even versions of non-duality... and it's really very personal how long we'll cling to it until we let go.

Sometimes, it has a sense of being a psychological block. Basically, you will often find there is some core need that keeps you seeking. For one of my friends, it was needing a sense of being safe. For another friend, it was needing a sense of being loved. For me, it was a sense of being powerful and not weak, so to speak, just to give you a feeling for it.

There is a basic thing that we ignore about >why< we are interested in spirituality. Some core sense of a self that needs something. That's the basic self, the basic ignorance.


Okay, this post has been on my mind for several weeks so I had to come back and reread it carefully. Something about it is speaking straight to the heart of my practice.

The aspect of experience that I see I am reifying is the "sensations of knowing" that shargrol mentions here. This seems to be my last refuge in moments of stress, the "private space" that I keep trying to make private and "mine" in experience. It is a rather subtle, totally silent, pleasant and... milky? cloudy? layer of mind, that feels like more than a layer, something meta-experience. It's like a knowing without content, an aspect of everything going on that seems to be on "this" side but also suffuses "that" side everywhere. 

Focusing on it seems to dissolve it almost completely on "this" side and dramatically reduce the grab/reactivty in every sense that I can detect. There have been moments immediately after completing a cycle that (I think) vividly reveal what it's like to have that whole layer collapse into the "out there" side, but when that's over, the knowing-sensations return as a private place where "I" am hiding out. 

I have a hunch that what's keeping me going is a feeling of wanting to be safe.

Getting clearer about this has been super helpful already — so thanks. But I'll welcome any suggestions about how to work with this. I immediately feel tempted to go for a more psychological approach ("What core needs do I need to be more aware of?") but I also suspect that this is actually avoidance behaviour, a way to wanting to satisfy the needs instead of seeing through the self that needs something.
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

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Don, where do you think you are on your map of choice?
Don, modified 3 Years ago.

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As best as I can determine, using Daniel's Revised 4 Path model, I've been at third path for a couple of years. I have gone through quite a few progress of insight cycles, and they seem to be getting shorter and shorter with occasional longer ones. Using his Simple Model, I believe the Wisdom Eye has "blinked" a couple of times. Almost all the stuff on this thread has made pretty good sense, if that's any indicator.

Other diagnostic stuff: There has been a very significant reduction in suffering over the last couple of years especially, although I do find review cycles pretty intense. Very strong emotions are much easier to work with. There is a perpetual sense of being close to greater liberation but much less urgency to get there. The "this side" space is way smaller than before. The panoramic quality of awareness is especially pronounced at the visual and auditory levels. The obviousness of stuff happening on its own gets greater every couple of cycles. On the other hand, there is still a sense of agency, although reduced.

Does this help paint a picture?
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

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Cool. What happens when you practice?
Don, modified 3 Years ago.

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Lately I am doing a lot of shikantaza and/or Shinzen Young's do-nothing. Eyes open, relatively strict posture. My sits are typically an hour long. I let go of any intention to do anything or to focus. On a good day, within a couple of minutes of gently monitoring any efforting, I get that "popcorn" thought effect going where most thoughts do not get elaborated upon.

Subtler thoughts persist at that point. These tend to be evaluations of how the sit is going. If I'm feeling a bit driven, I can bring awareness to these evaluating thoughts, the sense of time and space is much reduced or even eliminated (this tends to get me extremely unreactive for a few hours). If for any reason I can't be clear about these evaluating thoughts (like if there's a sudden burst of reactive thinking or physical pain) I am likely to just stay with this popcorn-thinking. If my mind gets quite agitated, at this point I will either not mind, or go for labeling mental images and auditory thinking. This usually leads back to popcorn thinking and much less elaboration of thought.

If the lack of discursive thought carries on for a while and the subtle "self evaluation" thoughts quiet down for a bit, at that point, as best as I can tell, I am really just not doing anything at all. The sense of self is almost completely reduced to a kind of totally impersonal "awareness", still "on this side" but I couldn't tell you why I think that.

Where the "sensations of knowing" come in is that sometimes my discursive mind seems to erupt with new stuff, like a flurry of judgments about the practice or storytelling or whatever. I notice that I can then cut through all of that very quickly if I focus on the knowing, the blank feeling of knowing without content. Somehow there's the assumption that "I" am able to see through all these thoughts by narrowing in on the "knowing" that "I" am not these thoughts. At a guess, I can go from having an extremely noisy and upset mind to dwelling in a mostly blissful and quiet state of "knowing" in three or four minutes by adopting this method. I also notice that I rely on this during the dukkha nanas, especially Reobservation.
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

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What would you say isn't going the way it should in practice?
Don, modified 3 Years ago.

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shargrol:
What would you say isn't going the way it should in practice?

Oof, I'll need to sleep on that one and gather my thoughts...
Don, modified 3 Years ago.

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shargrol:
What would you say isn't going the way it should in practice?


So, having reflected on this, I see there are a few assumptions lurking in the background of my practice.

1) I feel driven to expose more of my "stuff" and be less affected by unconscious processes that are causing suffering. I have the semi-conscious assumption that more cycles means more stuff comes up, and I judge this as "good" because once I've integrated whatever comes up, it stops having such an impact on my life. I feel rewarded by the greater ease and spaciousness that has resulted from dedicated practice. By everyone around me's account, and my own, my everyday behaviour reflects a greater happiness and joy, and I'm kinder to people. So digging up stuff is rewarding in that sense.

2) More stuff coming up to the surface, however, leads to less immediate peace and more emotional upheavals. And I have a desire for more peace and ease, in the long run. This feels like a competing desire. I want peace and I want to work through and integrate my emotional stuff, which doesn't feel peaceful. I want safety, a feeling of not getting in trouble. I also want to feel I can handle whatever is thrown my way. But for that, I convince myself that I need to see it for myself, and prove that I can handle the intensity associated with working through my stuff.

3) So I guess I'm projecting onto my practice a desire to be safe, while making my practice feel unsafe. Actually, more specifically, the practice itself is rather mellow at the moment, and is an expression of my growing confidence in what I'm doing, but I also carry around this attitude of needing to use the practice in a driven way, to expose more stuff. So it's like I am judging my practice as not intense enough. The intensity that got me here no longer feels as appropriate, but I am holding onto judgements about that, quite unconscious ones, in fact.
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

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Okay, so a blend of wanting a productive practice but also a bit of paranoia about what will happen if you don't practice aggressively enough.

So obviously making practices suggestions with such little information is somewhat crazy, but my crazy guess is that you could benefit from a practice that looks at very subtle reactive patterns.

Go to this page: http://awakenetwork.org/magazine/shargrol/253

and look at the "Aro Neurosis (Ngak’chang Rinpoche) Model" model description. Can you recognize, for example, the "Air" reaction? How in your own experience that when you feel aversion to empitness and try to grasp at form it is creating a sense of groundless anxiety? And how if you can relax into emptiness then actually things just seem to get accomplished?

Is this or any other of those patterns seem recognizable?
Don, modified 3 Years ago.

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shargrol:
Okay, so a blend of wanting a productive practice but also a bit of paranoia about what will happen if you don't practice aggressively enough.

So obviously making practices suggestions with such little information is somewhat crazy, but my crazy guess is that you could benefit from a practice that looks at very subtle reactive patterns.

Go to this page: http://awakenetwork.org/magazine/shargrol/253

and look at the "Aro Neurosis (Ngak’chang Rinpoche) Model" model description. Can you recognize, for example, the "Air" reaction? How in your own experience that when you feel aversion to empitness and try to grasp at form it is creating a sense of groundless anxiety? And how if you can relax into emptiness then actually things just seem to get accomplished?

Is this or any other of those patterns seem recognizable?
Suspicion and paranoia? Groundless anxiety? Hey, that's me! 

Your crazy guess makes an uncomfortable amount of sense. Yes, these are very subtle reactive patterns, and I felt a little chill when I read through the Air description in particular. Sometimes the "in here" space feels like a flea that's just jumping all over the place trying to master the situation.

Until this morning (when I read your post), I've been telling myself a little story: that I was feeilng aversion to form and retreating into emptiness. And I was also constantly noticing that all the best stuff that's been happening lately has been a direct result of my not interfering or worrying about it, which I attributed to being less attached to form (not that this was a conscious, fully articulated thought). But I 1) didn't connect these two things, and 2) didn't see that the first part of my little story was wrong. It makes a lot more sense to say I am trying desperately to cling to form. Now that I am paying attention, I suspect I am imposing form by clinging to this knowing without content, for example. "At least I have this knowing that transcends everything."

Thank you for the extra clarity. I am not sure what kind of practice to go for in this case, or where to go from here. Of course I want to know and no longer be in a state of not-knowing. 
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

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Coolness! Okay, so what you need to practice is straightforward in one sense... and very complex in another. The straightforward aspect is your job is to learn about "5 Element" practice. 

There are not a lot of discussions of it, but the basic model/method I pointed you towards is described in this book: The Spectrum of Ecstasy. Here's a write-up introduction: http://arobuddhism.org/articles/embracing-emotions-as-the-path.html

Ken McLeod has a lot of information on the elements on his website: http://unfetteredmind.org/?s=five+elements There is also a description of this practice in his book "Wake Up to your Life".

I have some posts about it over at AwakeNetwork, too.

The straightforward part is you need to develop a basic literacy with the idea that there are 5 major types of subtle reactions. The very complex part is you need to start seeing them in your sitting practice and as you walk around. This isn't something that a teacher can teach you, but something you have to play around with -- but hey, this is a pragmatic dharma site, we have no problem with that! emoticon That said, I'm glad to answer questions/talk/etc.

The whole thing is develop another level of sensetitivty to subtle reactive patterns. Those sublte reactive patterns are what prevents you from resting in openness/emptiness.

I really got a lot of benefit to this practice. Although anyone can do it, it seems very well suited for third-path-ish meditators.

Best wishes!
Don, modified 3 Years ago.

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Damn, thank you. I've just ordered Spectrum of Ecstasy and will do the necessary homework. I may return with questions later.

This has been a very valuable exchange for me.
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

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it was fun for me, thank you!
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

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Just a heads up: Spectrum of Ecstasy is kind of a quirky book. But it has a slant about the 5 element practice which is kind of interesting. Ken McLeod's book is probably ultimately better -- more clear directions for practice and development -- and it includes other good methods for advanced meditators. 
Don, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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shargrol:
Just a heads up: Spectrum of Ecstasy is kind of a quirky book. But it has a slant about the 5 element practice which is kind of interesting. Ken McLeod's book is probably ultimately better -- more clear directions for practice and development -- and it includes other good methods for advanced meditators. 


I bought both emoticon But I could only get Spectrum of Ecstasy on the Kindle, the McLeod is a paperback that will take a couple weeks to reach me. 

From the first few chapters of Spectrum of Ecstasy, I definitely see some of the quirkiness already. However, there's a directness to the writing, as exotic as it appears on the surface, that I am really digging.

The most I have worked with this kind of thing is the guided practices on the kleshas in Reggie Ray's Mahamudra audio series, which were helpful but a little too much on the blunt "feel this emotion very strongly" side. I would really like to go deeper into this work at a subtler level, where things become quite a bit harder to detect or even know about.
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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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To make this easier, I hope, since you asked me about it, JC. This is the relevant exchange between my then-teacher Kenneth Folk and me on May 9th, 2010:

kennethfolkI sometimes wonder about this. Am I seeing something now that was not here before? No, I don’t think so. What I am seeing now was here the whole time. I was just discounting it. I don’t see anything new. I’ve just lost the need to see something other than this. At least that’s one perspective.   remember feeling very strongly in 2004 that I had wasted 22 years of seeking because I couldn’t now see anything that had not been here the whole time and yet what I could see now was good enough. I even based my teaching for several years on just asking people to directly see what I was seeing. It worked, too, for some people, for a few minutes, as long as I was with them. Then, they went back to suffering. I guess that’s when I went back to emphasizing the whole package, with a scaffolded approach and techniques that people could use. Whether it was a coincidence or not I couldn’t say, but I could see in so many yogis a correlation between decades of practice and the ability or willingness to see and accept what had been here the whole time. It is a wonderment.

cmartiWhat prompted Kenneth’s last comment was this private message from me: 

“Kenneth, I’ve become somehow laser beamed in on the nature of experience and I thus realized that it has to be only what it is, just what it is, and that somehow the seeking of some “it” factor, some nebulously defined desire to find a “thing” that would allow me to get the thing is ridiculous and a complete waste of time. This little tiny realization – why is this realization so oddly powerful? It has always, always been a part of my presumption about experience and what is going on — that there is something I wasn’t seeing. I’m seeing what there is to see, and the dropping of that unstated assumption about what is going on makes such a major difference. How odd! WTF??? It is as though the trying, the wishing, the assuming, is what gets in the way of just seeing. Over the past few days it has become more obvious that what happens is just plainly what happens. This is a such a weird little change to the thing. Is this possibly the result of the fact that I have been absolutely and relentlessly focused on this stuff for a few weeks now? When this began happening on Friday it was absolutely and abundantly clear, much like in non-dual awareness, that there is nothing simpler, though this is not like non-dual awareness but is its phenomenological cousin. Stop looking. Stop seeking, and just see. Of course, now that I type this it seems trite and silly and obvious. But it was not that way before and now it is.” 

So somehow seeking is that which obscures finding.
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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J C:
And then when you ask the key question, "What is aware of comparing the narrator with non-duality?" - I get a flash of - something. Just thinking that question takes me to a quiet non-dual state. This seems like the right direction to go here.

Where do I go next?


Awesome.

So for what it's worth, a teacher is a big help at the point you are at -- or at least some regular contact with meditation friend that knows the territory.

What typically happens is when you ask an inquiry question, you will for a split second (a flash) see nothing. And then the experience wil re-congeal into subject-object. Where I would go next is to look very closely at that moment of re-congealing. That's were the thing you need to see is.

Resting afterwards in non-duality is a good thing. It's very similar to how resting in jhana conditions the mind for previous paths. But 4th path is different because it goes beyond all dualities and states. 

The very very very tricky thing about normal non-dual state is very close to 4th path, we are aware of it. How is that possible??? What becomes clear is the clear, lucid, panoramic, easy, complete experience IS STILL A STATE. If it is a state, then it can't be the answer.

So what's next is not being decieved by states, no matter how good they are, and keep asking questions --- not because there is an intellectual answer, not because there is an experience that is the answer, but because there is an >insight< that is very very close and easy to overlook. 
J C, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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shargrol:
J C:
And then when you ask the key question, "What is aware of comparing the narrator with non-duality?" - I get a flash of - something. Just thinking that question takes me to a quiet non-dual state. This seems like the right direction to go here.

Where do I go next?


Awesome.

So for what it's worth, a teacher is a big help at the point you are at -- or at least some regular contact with meditation friend that knows the territory.

What typically happens is when you ask an inquiry question, you will for a split second (a flash) see nothing. And then the experience wil re-congeal into subject-object. Where I would go next is to look very closely at that moment of re-congealing. That's were the thing you need to see is.

Resting afterwards in non-duality is a good thing. It's very similar to how resting in jhana conditions the mind for previous paths. But 4th path is different because it goes beyond all dualities and states. 

The very very very tricky thing about normal non-dual state is very close to 4th path, we are aware of it. How is that possible??? What becomes clear is the clear, lucid, panoramic, easy, complete experience IS STILL A STATE. If it is a state, then it can't be the answer.

So what's next is not being decieved by states, no matter how good they are, and keep asking questions --- not because there is an intellectual answer, not because there is an experience that is the answer, but because there is an >insight< that is very very close and easy to overlook. 


Shargrol,
I am working with a teacher on non-duality.
So you'd suggest asking that kind of inquiry question over and over and watching the recongealing closely?
So are you saying that I may be at 3rd path now and you think there's another path moment ahead when I do see something in the recongealing? Another fruition?

And what's it like afterwards - where non-duality doesn't seem like a state? I'm not sure I understand this - do you mean it won't seem like a state because I'm in that state all the time?

Can you elaborate on how you see the paths? So does losing self/agency happen at 3rd path and then permanent nonduality hits at 4th?

Thank you again - this is very helpful.
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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J C:
Shargrol,
I am working with a teacher on non-duality.
So you'd suggest asking that kind of inquiry question over and over and watching the recongealing closely?
So are you saying that I may be at 3rd path now and you think there's another path moment ahead when I do see something in the recongealing? Another fruition?

And what's it like afterwards - where non-duality doesn't seem like a state? I'm not sure I understand this - do you mean it won't seem like a state because I'm in that state all the time?

Can you elaborate on how you see the paths? So does losing self/agency happen at 3rd path and then permanent nonduality hits at 4th?


J C, Yes, I personally think what you are describing is CLASSIC late 3rd path.

3rd path is all about getting confused about the little things. For example, we can say that there is no agency, but we are worried about what we are supposed to do. (see the contradiction?) Or we can say nothing is sacred, but still we think the narrator is a special problem. Or we can say we have no center point, but we think there is something that isn't fully awake. This is classic late 3rd path. 

The good news is your are very very very very very very close right now.

The classic saying is:

Too close - you can't recognize it. 
Too profound - you can't appreciate it.
Too simple - you can't believe it.
Too good - you can't accept it.

When you see it, it's a WHOA! moment. I almost said Oh Fuck!! out loud on retreat. 

Late 3rd is about not recognizing it, or seeing it and not appreciating it, ESPECIALLY denying it as too simple to be the answer, and rejecting it because it seems too easy.

"One integrated field with all the sense modalities and thoughts and the rest all together in one fluxing 3D shifting self-illuminating space" is the sensation of wiping your butt with scratchy toilet paper.

Simple. 


Exact. 

Gone as quick as it appears.

Ordinary is already non-dual -- how do we overlook something so obvious?




Once you see it, you can't unsee it.


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Chris Marti, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: 4th path but still narrating and working on nonduality

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JC asked shargrol:
So are you saying that I may be at 3rd path now and you think there's another path moment ahead when I do see something in the recongealing? Another fruition? 

I agree with shargrol that you are in a classic late 3rd path territory, JC. To your question about fruitions, my experience and that of many, many others I know is that the next realization doesn't come with a cessation/fruition like other paths. It seems to come with a perceptual flip or blip or click of some sort that permanently changes the way the yogi sees their experience. It is a kind of figure/ground reversal.

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